Organic Farming – Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojna (PKVY), NPOF etc.

Organic Farming – Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojna (PKVY), NPOF etc.

Explained:  Participatory Guarantee Scheme

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : PGS

Mains level : Read the attached story


  • The head of India’s food safety regulator has said that she expects the Union Agriculture Ministry’s Participatory Guarantee Scheme (PGS) to incentivise more farmers to grow organic food.

Participatory Guarantee Scheme

  • PGS is a process of certifying organic products, which ensures that their production takes place in accordance with laid-down quality standards.
  • The certification is in the form of a documented logo or a statement.
  • PGS is is an internationally applicable organic quality assurance initiative that  emphasize the participation of stakeholders, including producers and consumers, and operate outside the framework of third-party certification.
  • PGSs are “locally focused quality assurance systems” that “certify producers based on active participation of stakeholders and are built on a foundation of trust, social networks and knowledge exchange”.
  • PGS, according to the definition, is “a process in which people in similar situations (in this case small holder producers) assess, inspect and verify the production practices of each other and take decisions on organic certification”.

Four pillars of PGS

  • The government’s 2015 PGS manual underlines that the system in India is based on “participatory approach, a shared vision, transparency and trust”.

PARTICIPATION

  • Stakeholders such as producers, consumers, retailers, traders, NGOs, Gram Panchayats, and government organisations and agencies are collectively responsible for designing, operating, and decision-making.
  • Direct communication among the stakeholders helps create an integrity- and trust-based approach with transparency in decision-making, easy access to databases and, where possible, visits to farms b consumers.

SHARED VISION

  • Collective responsibility for implementation and decision making is driven by a common shared vision.
  • Each stakeholder organisation or PGS group can adopt its own vision conforming to the overall vision and standards of the PGS-India programme.

TRANSPARENCY

  • At the grassroots level, transparency is maintained through the active participation of producers in the organic guarantee process.
  • It can include information-sharing at meetings and workshops, peer reviews, and involvement in decision making.

TRUST

  • A fundamental premise of PGS is the idea that producers can be trusted, and that the organic guarantee system can be an expression and verification of this trust.
  • The mechanisms for trustworthiness include a producer pledge made through a witnessed signing of a declaration, and written collective undertakings by the group to abide by the norms, principles and standards of PGS.

Advantages of PGS

Among the advantages of PGS over third-party certification, identified by the government document, are:

  • Procedures are simple, documents are basic, and farmers understand the local language used.
  • All members live close to each other and are known to each other. As practising organic farmers themselves, they understand the processes well.
  • Because peer appraisers live in the same village, they have better access to surveillance; peer appraisal instead of third-party inspections also reduces costs
  • Mutual recognition and support between regional PGS groups ensures better networking for processing and marketing.
  • Unlike the grower group certification system, PGS offers every farmer individual certificates, and the farmer is free to market his own produce independent of the group.

Limitations

  • PGS certification is only for farmers or communities that can organise and perform as a group within a village or a cluster of continuous villages.
  • It is applicable only to farm activities such as crop production, processing, and livestock rearing, and off-farm processing “by PGS farmers of their direct products”.
  • Individual farmers or group of farmers smaller than five members are not covered under PGS.
  • They either have to opt for third party certification or join the existing PGS local group.
  • PGS ensures traceability until the product is in the custody of the PGS group, which makes PGS ideal for local direct sales and direct trade between producers and consumers.

Organic Farming – Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojna (PKVY), NPOF etc.

[op-ed snap] Let the farmer choose

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : ZBNF

Mains level : ZBNF analysis

CONTEXT

Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) has received an endorsement from the NITI Aayog, FM and the PM. 

Challenges with ZBNF

  • India’s premier academy of agricultural scientists came out against this “unproven technology”.
  • They say that it brings no incremental gain to either farmers or consumers. 
  • Since the mid-1960s, India’s annual foodgrain output has risen from 80-85 million tonnes (mt) to 280 mt-plus. It has risen from 20 mt to 176 mt for milk and by similar magnitudes in vegetables, fruits, poultry meat, eggs, sugarcane, and cotton. 
  • A significant part of these increases have come from crossbreeding or improved varieties/hybrids responsive to chemical fertiliser application, and crop protection chemicals to ensure that the resultant genetic yield gains aren’t eaten away by insects, fungi or weeds. 
  • Without IR-8 rice, urea, chlorpyrifos or artificial insemination, the nation would simply not have been able to feed itself.
  • The basic idea of “zero budget” itself rests on very shaky scientific foundations. Agriculture can never be zero budget. 
  • Its propounder claims that nitrogen, the most important nutrient for plant growth, is available “free” from the air. But being in a non-reactive diatomic (N2) state, it has to be first “fixed” into a plant-usable form — which is what ammonia or urea is. 
  • Even maintaining indigenous cows and collecting their dung and urine in microbial, seed treatment and insect pest management solutions — entails labor cost. 
  • Crop yields cannot go up beyond a point with just cow dung that has only around 3% nitrogen (as against 46%t in urea), 2% phosphorous (46% in di-ammonium phosphate) and 1% potassium (60% in muriate of potash).

What should be done

  • Promoting techniques such as conservation tillage, trash mulching, green manuring and vermicomposting.
  • Reducing the use of chemical fertilisers and insecticides through integrated nutrient and pest management. 
  • Eliminating fertiliser subsidies to encourage their judicious use. 
  • Give farmers a fixed sum of money per acre, which they can use to buy chemical-based inputs or to engage the extra labour necessary for organic agricultural practices.

CONCLUSION

Let the farmer choose between non-organic, organic or even ZBNF.

 


Back2Basics

Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF)

Organic Farming – Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojna (PKVY), NPOF etc.

Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : ZBNF

Mains level : Utility of ZBNF in doubling farmers income

  • Subhash Palekar, the man behind the idea of ZBNF came in the Union Budget speech of FM where she talked of the need to “go back to basics” and replicate this innovative model that can help in doubling our farmers.

What is Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF)?

  • ZBNF is a set of farming methods, and also a grassroots peasant movement, which has spread to various states in India.
  • According to the “zero budget” concept, farmers won’t have to spend any money on fertilisers and other agricultural inputs.
  • Over 98% of the nutrients that crops require — carbon dioxide, nitrogen, water, solar energy — are already present in nature.
  • The remaining 1.5-2% are taken from the soil, after microorganisms convert them from “non-available” to “available” forms, for intake by the roots.
  • This is where the special package of practices which, Palekar says he perfected during the 1990s at his 36-acre farm in Belura village of Amravati district in Maharashtra’s drought-prone Vidarbha region, comes in.

Four Wheels of ZBNF

  • The “four wheels” of ZBNF are ‘Jiwamrita’, ‘Bijamrita’, ‘Mulching’ and ‘Waaphasa’.
  • Jiwamrita is a fermented mixture of cow dung and urine (of desi breeds), jaggery, pulses flour, water and soil from the farm bund.
  • This isn’t a fertiliser, but just a source of some 500 crore micro-organisms that can convert all the necessary “non-available” nutrients into “available” form.
  • Bijamrita is a mix of desi cow dung and urine, water, bund soil and lime that is used as a seed treatment solution prior to sowing.
  • Mulching, or covering the plants with a layer of dried straw or fallen leaves, is meant to conserve soil moisture and keep the temperature around the roots at 25-32 degrees Celsius, which allows the microorganisms to do their job.
  • Waaphasa, or providing water to maintain the required moisture-air balance, also achieves the same objective.

Astra’s of ZBNF against pest attacks

  • Palekar also advocates the use of special ‘Agniastra’, ‘Bramhastra’ and ‘Neemastra’ concoctions — again based on desi cow urine and dung, plus pulp from leaves of neem, white datura, papaya, guava and pomegranates — for controlling pest and disease attacks.

Is it organic farming?

  • ZBNF uses farmyard manure or vermicompost mostly produced from Eisenia fedita, a species imported from Europe and Canada.
  • These foreign earthworms accumulate heavy metals like lead, arsenic and cadmium, which get transferred into their castings that, far from being manure, are actually toxic to the soil.
  • So, the soil fertility, instead of improving, only reduces”.
  • He says that in ZBNF, the work of making nutrients available to plants is done exclusively by microorganisms from Jiwamrita and “local earthworms”.

However, not all farmers are convinced about ZBNF. Why?

  • The cost of labour for collection of dung and urine, apart from the other inputs used in preparation of Jiwamrita, Neemastra or Bramhastra is quit higher.
  • Keeping cows is also a cost that has to be accounted for. Farmers cannot afford to keep desi cows that yield very little milk.
  • If ZBNF is practiced in isolation, the crop grown would be vulnerable to attacks by insects and pests which may move there from fields where chemical pesticides are being sprayed.
  • Many state governments, including Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Karnataka have openly supported ZBNF after studying its efficacy.

Organic Farming – Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojna (PKVY), NPOF etc.

Sikkim’s 100% organic farming wins FAO’s Future Policy Gold Award

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Sikkim Organic Mission

Mains level: Significance of the international recognition in promotion of organic farming practice  at pan-India level.


News

Context

  • Sikkim has won the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Future Policy Gold Award for its achievement in becoming the world’s first totally organic agriculture state.

Aim of the Award

  1. The Future Policy Award celebrates policies that create better living conditions for current and future generations.
  2. The aim of the award is to raise global awareness for these exemplary policies and speed up policy action towards just, sustainable and peaceful societies.
  3. The Future Policy Award is the first award that celebrates policies rather than people on an international level.

Sikkim bags 2018 Award

  1. Nicknamed the “Oscar for best policies”, the award is co-organised with the FAO by The World Future Council (WFC) and IFOAM – Organics International.
  2. The award recognizes the world’s best laws and policies promoting agroecology.
  3. Sikkim beat out 51 other nominees from around the world for the award.
  4. Brazil, Denmark, Quito and Ecuador shared the Silver award.
  5. Sikkim is the first organic state in the world and all of its farmland is certified organic, reads the award announcement.
  6. The state has totally banned the sale and use of chemical pesticides.

About Sikkim Organic Mission

  1. Starting with a political commitment to support organic farming in 2003, Sikkim designed in 2010 the Sikkim Organic Mission.
  2. It is a road map that clearly detailed all the measures necessary to achieve the target of becoming a fully organic state by 2015.
  3. At the time, officials reasoned that per hectare consumption of fertilizers in Sikkim was already among the lowest in the country (at 5.8 kg per hectare).
  4. Farmers had also traditionally never used chemicals in the cultivation of cardamom, one of Sikkim’s main cash crops.
  5. From 2003, the state began reducing the subsidy on chemical pesticides and fertilizers by 10 per cent every year and banned them completely in 2014.
  6. Their sale and use was made punishable by law with an imprisonment of up to three months or a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh or both.

Roadmap of Sikkim’s transition to 100% organic state:


Back2Basics

World Future Council

  1. The World Future Council (WFC) is an independent body formally founded in Hamburg, Germany on 10 May 2007.
  2. Formed to speak on behalf of policy solutions that serve the interests of future generations, it includes members active in governmental bodies, civil society, business, science and the arts.
  3. The WFC’s primary focus has been climate security, promoting laws such as the renewable energy Feed-in tariff.
  4. The WFC has special consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council  (UN-ECOSOC).

Organic Farming – Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojna (PKVY), NPOF etc.

[op-ed snap] The seeds of sustainability

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Zero Budget Natural Farming

Mains level: ZBNF and its advantages


Context

Andhra, first to implement ZBNF Policy

  1. Andhra Pradesh will fully embrace Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF), a chemical-free method that would cover all farmers by 2024.
  2. Even though this revolution has been in the works for several years, this is still a momentous occasion and highlights the way to improve the welfare of farmers, reduce the cost of farm inputs, cut toxins in food, and improve soils.
  3. By 2021-22, the programme is to be implemented in every panchayat, with full coverage by 2024.
  4. More encouraging is that the programme is having a positive effect on many of the sustainable development goals through improvements in soil, biodiversity, livelihoods, water, reduction in chemicals, climate resilience, health, women’s empowerment and nutrition.

Natural farming

  1. Natural farming is “do nothing farming”
  2. It promotes no-till, no chemical use in farming along with the dispersal of clay seed balls to propagate plants.
  3. It is important to apply nature’s principles in farming and developed a deep-rooted philosophy around the process.

Zero Budget Natural Farming

  1. Subhash Palekar, a farmer in the distressed Vidarbha region developed the ZBNF.
  2. He identified some aspects that are now integral to his process and which require locally available materials:
  • seeds treated with cow dung and urine;
  • soil rejuvenated with cow dung,
  • cow urine and other local materials to increase microbes;
  • cover crops, straw and other organic matter to retain soil moisture and build humus;
  • and soil aeration for favorable soil conditions.

These methods are combined with natural insect management methods when required.

 Benefits of ZBNF

  1. In ZBNF, yields of various cash and food crops have been found to be significantly higher when compared with chemical farming.
  2. Input costs are near zero as no fertilizers and pesticides are used.
  3. Profits in most areas under ZBNF were from higher yield and lower inputs.
  4. Model ZBNF farms were able to withstand drought and flooding, which are big concerns with regard to climate change.
  5. The planting of multiple crops and border crops on the same field has provided varied income and nutrient sources.
  6. As a result of these changes, there is reduced use of water and electricity, improved health of farmers, flourishing of local ecosystems and biodiversity and no toxic chemical residues in the environment.

Model for other States

  1. Andhra Pradesh is one of the top five States in terms of farmer suicides.
  2. The changes taking place in AP are a systematic scaling up of farming practices based on agro-ecological principles in opposition to the dominant chemical agriculture.
  3. Changes at this scale require many different elements to come together, but open-minded enlightened political leaders and administrators are fundamental.
  4. As ZBNF is applied in India’s various agro-ecological zones, making farmers the innovators is essential.
  5. Resilient food systems are the need of the day given the variability of the monsoons due to global warming and declining groundwater in large parts of India.
  6. The drought-prone Rayalaseema region (Andhra Pradesh) is reportedly seeing promising changes already in farms with the ZBNF.

The Way Forward- Listen to our Farmers

  1. ZBNF is a technology of the future with a traditional idiom.
  2. Agricultural scientists in India have to rework their entire strategy so that farming is in consonance with nature.
  3. The dominant paradigm of chemical-based agriculture has failed and regenerative agriculture is the emerging new science.
  4. The world is at critical junctures on many planetary boundaries, and establishing a system that shows promise in improving them while supporting people sustainably is surely one worth pursuing.

Organic Farming – Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojna (PKVY), NPOF etc.

Narendra Modi govt planning to support ‘yogik’, ‘gou mata’ farming

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Vedic systems of farming and important Vedic texts, Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana

Mains level: Organic farming and its advantages


Promoting obscure methods of cultivation

  1. The agriculture ministry plans to offer cash incentives to farmers who take up ‘yogik’ farming, ‘gou Mata kheti’ and ‘rishi krishi’
  2. According to revised guidelines of the center’s flagship scheme to promote organic farming, Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY), farmers will be eligible for an assistance for a three-year period for adopting these traditional methods of cultivation

Traditional farming promotion

  1. Farmers practicing traditional methods of organic farming like yogik farming, gou mata kheti, Vedic farming, Vaishnav kheti, Ahinsa farming, Adhvoot Shivanand farming, and rishi krishi will be eligible for financial assistance
  2. This will be in addition to those adopting standard organic farming practices like zero-budget natural farming and permaculture

Vedic systems of farming

  1. Rishi krishi is based on pre-Vedic, Vedic and medieval texts like Vishvavallava, Kashyapiyakrishisukti, and Surapala’s Vrikshayurveda
  2. Gou mata kheti is a system of farming which uses cow dung and urine from indigenous breeds of lactating cows

Back2Basics

Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY)

  1. Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana is an elaborated component of Soil Health Management (SHM) of major project National Mission of Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA)
  2. Under PKVY Organic farming is promoted through the adoption of the organic village by cluster approach and PGS certification
  3. Groups of farmers would be motivated to take up organic farming under Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY)
  4. Fifty or more farmers will form a cluster having 50-acre land to take up the organic farming under the scheme
  5. The produce will be pesticide residue free and will contribute to improving the health of the consumer

Organic Farming – Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojna (PKVY), NPOF etc.

[op-ed snap] Hunger solutions from the soil

  1. Theme: The dependence of food security on agricultural soils.
  2. According to the IPCC, reduction in the quality of soil, compounded by climate change, will lead to a worldwide decline in agricultural production, thereby threatening food security and stability of food prices.
  3. The climate, soil and agricultural production continuum: Agricultural soils are among the largest reservoirs of carbon and hold the potential for extensive carbon sequestration but increased temperature can lead to the soils releasing carbon and enhance the carbon concentration in the atmosphere.
  4. Rising levels of atmospheric carbon can influence the growth and productivity of agricultural crops.
  5. Decreased soil quality, due to loss of soil organic matter, will affect essential soil properties, including nutrient availability, soil structure, water-holding capacity and erosion capacity.
  6. Role played by FAO: FAO encourages restoring of degraded soils, sustainable management of land and water resources and adoption of sustainable agricultural practices tailored to local contexts.
  7. FAO promotes agricultural systems and agro-ecological practices that nurture soil biodiversity e.g. organic farming, zero-tillage, crop rotations and conservation agriculture.
  8. Recent initiatives: The Soil Health Card scheme of the government has reached out to approximately 30 million farmers to improve agricultural productivity and soil health.
  9. FAO, in partnership with the GoI, has undertaken projects in seven drought-prone districts of Andhra Pradesh on groundwater conservation for improved crop production.
  10. FAO is also collaborating with the Union ministries for agriculture and environment on a green agriculture project, focusing on eco-restoration of one million hectares of degraded land; self-replication through sustainable business models and conserving keystone species in project states—Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Odisha, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand.
  11. The way ahead: Strategies on agricultural production should focus on sustainable production, enhanced natural resource management, reduced soil emissions, and mitigating the risks of climate change.

Organic Farming – Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojna (PKVY), NPOF etc.

Push for disease-resistant organic fruits

  1. Context: To promote organic cultivation in India
  2. Focus: Developing disease resistant varieties that can be grown without pesticides
  3. ‘Fruit breeding in tropics and sub-tropics- an Indian perspective’ is a symposium jointly organized by Indian Council of Agricultural Research and Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR)
  4. Aim: To deliberate issues related to development of disease resistant varieties of fruits and plants
  5. It would also look at conservation of indigenous fruit varieties

Organic Farming – Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojna (PKVY), NPOF etc.

‘Organic tag to boost Sikkim’s cardamom exports’

  1. The global demand for large cardamom grown in India is expected to rise with Sikkim, which produces a chunk of this highly-valued spice.
  2. The organically-raised large cardamom, initiative under Make in India mission, aims to make the country a global hub of indigenously-developed products.
  3. Sikkim, which grows large cardamom in 17,000 hectares of land, produces 4,000 metric tonnes (90 per cent of the country’s production) of the spice annually.
  4. Spices Board has a team of 50-odd employees working in Sikkim to not just sustain organic farming but empower the growers to earn more from their produce.
  5. The Spices Board is set to unveil an e-platform for its famed fortnightly auction in Sikkim’s traditional spice market of Singtam.

Organically-grown large cardamom may be priced higher than its fertiliser-fed counterpart but the former has burgeoning premium-class consumers abroad.

TH26_BU_CARDAMOM_2711769f


  1. The global demand for large cardamom grown in India is expected to rise with Sikkim, which produces a chunk of this highly-valued spice.
  2. The organically-raised large cardamom, initiative under Make in India mission, aims to make the country a global hub of indigenously-developed products.
  3. Sikkim, which grows large cardamom in 17,000 hectares of land, produces 4,000 metric tonnes (90 per cent of the country’s production) of the spice annually.
  4. Spices Board has a team of 50-odd employees working in Sikkim to not just sustain organic farming but empower the growers to earn more from their produce.
  5. The Spices Board is set to unveil an e-platform for its famed fortnightly auction in Sikkim’s traditional spice market of Singtam.

Organic Farming – Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojna (PKVY), NPOF etc.

Sikkim becomes the first fully organic state of India

  1. With a population of around 6 lakhs, the state also known as the Land of Flower, will now be known for its Organic initiative too.
  2. Over the years around 75000 hectares of land in the state has been converted into certified organic farms.
  3. Following the guidelines as prescribed by National Programme for Organic Production.
  4. Within 1.24 million tonnes of organic production in the country around 80000 million is supplied by Sikkim alone.
  5. With this, Sikkim now joins hands with the organic states of the foreign countries like California, Wisconsin among others.
  1. With a population of around 6 lakhs, the state also known as the Land of Flower, will now be known for its Organic initiative too.
  2. Over the years around 75000 hectares of land in the state has been converted into certified organic farms.
  3. Following the guidelines as prescribed by National Programme for Organic Production.
  4. Within 1.24 million tonnes of organic production in the country around 80000 million is supplied by Sikkim alone.
  5. With this, Sikkim now joins hands with the organic states of the foreign countries like California, Wisconsin among others.

Organic Farming – Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojna (PKVY), NPOF etc.

PM inaugurates Sikkim Organic Festival 2016

  1. The Prime Minister recalled CoP-21 meeting in Paris, where the idea of “back to basics” had been raised forcefully.
  2. He said Sikkim has already achieved that feat of living in harmony with nature, and is therefore a model of development which also protects nature.
  3. The Prime Minister complimented Sikkim for Gangtok being rated as the 10th cleanest city in a survey conducted by the Government of India.
  4. The Prime Minister exhorted States to identify a district, or even a block, to convert to a 100 percent organic area.
  5. The Prime Minister suggested that a digital online platform of progressive farmers should be developed in each State.

He addressed the Plenary Session of the National Conference on Sustainable Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, at Gangtok in Sikkim.

  1. The Prime Minister recalled CoP-21 meeting in Paris, where the idea of “back to basics” had been raised forcefully.
  2. He said Sikkim has already achieved that feat of living in harmony with nature, and is therefore a model of development which also protects nature.
  3. The Prime Minister complimented Sikkim for Gangtok being rated as the 10th cleanest city in a survey conducted by the Government of India.
  4. The Prime Minister exhorted States to identify a district, or even a block, to convert to a 100 percent organic area.
  5. The Prime Minister suggested that a digital online platform of progressive farmers should be developed in each State.

The market for organic food in this country is likely to treble in the next four years, according to a report from business chamber Assocham and TechSci Research, a non-government body.

source

  • What is organic farming?
  • Need for organic farming in India
  • Key characteristics of organic farming
  • Steps taken by the Government to promote organic farming in India
  • Key features of PKVY
  • Status of Organic farming in India
  • Why demand for organic products are increasing in recent years?
  • Challenges and constraints faced by Organic farming in India

What is organic farming?

Organic farming system in India is not new and is being followed from ancient time.

It is a method of farming system which primarily aimed at cultivating the land and raising crops in such a way, as to keep the soil alive and in good health by use of organic wastes (crop, animal and farm wastes, aquatic wastes) and other biological materials along with beneficial microbes (biofertilizers) to release nutrients to crops for increased sustainable production in an eco friendly pollution free environment.

Need for organic farming in India

With the increase in population our compulsion would be not only to stabilize agricultural production but to increase it further in sustainable manner.

The scientists have realized that the ‘Green Revolution’ with high input use has reached a plateau and is now sustained with diminishing return of falling dividends.

Thus, a natural balance needs to be maintained at all cost for existence of life and property. The obvious choice for that would be more relevant in the present era, when these agrochemicals which are produced from fossil fuel and are not renewable and are diminishing in availability. It may also cost heavily on our foreign exchange in future.

The key characteristics of organic farming include

  • Protecting the long term fertility of soils by maintaining organic matter levels, encouraging soil biological activity, and careful mechanical intervention
  • Providing crop nutrients indirectly using relatively insoluble nutrient sources which are made available to the plant by the action of soil micro-organisms
  • Nitrogen self-sufficiency through the use of legumes and biological nitrogen fixation, as well as effective recycling of organic materials including crop residues and livestock manures
  • Weed, disease and pest control relying primarily on crop rotations, natural predators, diversity, organic manuring, resistant varieties and limited (preferably minimal) thermal, biological and chemical intervention
  • The extensive management of livestock, paying full regard to their evolutionary adaptations, behavioral needs and animal welfare issues with respect to nutrition, housing, health, breeding and rearing
  • Careful attention to the impact of the farming system on the wider environment and the conservation of wildlife and natural habitats

Steps taken by the Government to promote organic farming in India

Government is promoting Organic farming through various schèmes

  1. National Project on Organic Farming (NPOF)
  2. National Horticulture Mission (NHM)
  3. Horticulture Mission for North East and Himalyan States (HMNEH)
  4. Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY)
  5. Network Project on Organic Farming of Indian Council Agricultural Research (ICAR).
  6. In addition to this, Government is implementing  a Cluster based programme   to encourage the farmer for promoting organic farming called Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY)

Key features of PKVY

  • Groups of farmers would be motivated to take up organic farming under Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY). Fifty or more farmers will form a cluster having 50 acre land to take up the organic farming under the scheme.
  • In this way during three years 10,000 clusters will be formed covering 5.0 lakh acre area under organic farming. There will be no liability on the farmers for expenditure on certification.
  • Every farmer will be provided Rs. 20,000 per acre in three years for seed to harvesting of crops and to transport produce to the market.
  • Organic farming will be promoted by using traditional resources and the organic products will be linked with the market.
  • It will increase domestic production and certification of organic produce by involving farmers

Status of Organic farming in India

source

  • The current market (pulses and foodgrain the bulk) of organic food is at $500 million (about Rs 3,350 crore). It was $360 million (Rs 2,400 crore) in 2014.
  • Although nascent, the Indian organic food market has begun growing rapidly in last few years. A report by Yes Bank in 2014 said that the organic food sector is growing at about 20% in India, with more than 100 retail organic outlets in Mumbai and about 60 in Bangalore.
  • Total area under organic certification in India in 2013-14 is estimated to be 4.72 million ha with 15 per cent are certified and the rest under forest area. India has the highest number of organic producers in the world (5,97,873), mainly due to small holdings.
  • During 2013-14, India exported 135 products, realisation from which was to the tune of $403, million including $183 million contributed by exports of organic textile. Major destinations for organic products from India are the US, EU, Canada, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, South-East Asian countries, West Asia, South Africa, etc.
  • Soyabean (70 per cent) lead among the products exported followed by cereals and millets other than basmati (six per cent), processed food products (five per cent), basmati rice (four per cent), sugar (three per cent), tea (two per cent), pulses and lentils (one per cent), dry fruits (one per cent), spices (one per cent).

Why is the demand for organic products increasing in recent years

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Challenges and constraints faced by Organic farming in India

  • The most important issue facing organic farming is its failure to raise the productivity to keep pace with the growing population. Studies, according to a latest report in The Wall Street Journal, have shown that organic yields are far less than yields of conventional farming. As per the 2011 survey data of National Agricultural Statistics Service, a branch of the US organic farming would require 14.5 million acres more to equal conventional farming’s production of 14 staple (human-focused food crops).
  • There is a wide gap in scientific validation and research compared to the progress in the same for general agriculture. Also, there is a need to aid farmers with advisory services (technical and managerial support to form cluster and adopt best management practices).
  • Due to lack of government support, the courage needed to convert inorganic land into organic land is missing also there is  absence of globally recognized consultancy for timely guidance to farmers. Thus, huge support from states and the Centre is required.
  • Key problems faced by organic farmers during the transition phase are non-realisation of premium.

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